[Lingtyp] Ideophonic intonation

Geoffrey Khan gk101 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Oct 23 06:12:03 UTC 2017

Dear Laura,

In some Neo-Aramaic dialects there are constructions consisting of a 
repetitive collocation of two nouns with a distinctive rise-fall prosody 
on the final syllable of the first noun, which is not found in other 
contexts. The syllable with the distinctive prosody carries the nuclear 
stress of the intonation group. Such repetitions express diversity and 
large numbers, e.g. (nuclear stress marked with a grave accent):

/ticì tícə /'lots of pieces'

/jurrì júrrə /'various kinds'

You can find more details in

Khan, Geoffrey. 2016. /The Neo-Aramaic Dialect of the Assyrian 
Christians of Urmi/. Leiden-Boston: Brill, vol. 2, p.92-93.

Best wishes,

Geoffrey Khan


On 22/10/2017 19:14, Laura McPherson wrote:
> Dear typology colleagues,
> I am thinking about writing about ideophones in Seenku (Samogo, 
> Northwestern Mande), and in particular about an ideophonic intonation 
> pattern that I have seen with many different ideophones that I am 
> calling "bouncing ball intonation". Briefly, it is characterized by 
> repetition of the ideophonic stem/morpheme, slowly at first, then with 
> increasing speed, like a bouncing ball coming to a stop.
> Ideophones are of course often characterized by repetition 
> (reduplication, retriplication) and by unusual prosody, but I am 
> interested in published sources or other cases you know of where there 
> is a larger fixed prosodic or intonational template that different 
> ideophones can be slotted into and whether any meaning is associated 
> with it.
> Many thanks,
> Laura
> Laura McPherson
> Assistant Professor of Linguistics
> Dartmouth College
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Geoffrey Khan
Regius Professor of Hebrew
University of Cambridge

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA

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